Science and Engineering Workforce
Labor Market Conditions
Overall labor market conditions were similar in 1993 and 1995, despite many changes in conditions for specific S&E fields. Overall unemployment rates for science and engineering (S&E) Ph.D.-holders went from 1.6
percent to 1.5 percent. For recent Ph.D. recipients, the unemployment rate grew from 1.7 to 1.9 percent.
Only 2.4 percent of recent S&E Ph.D. recipients
reported working in a non-S&E job that was unrelated to their field.
Based on the proportions reporting that they were involuntarily working outside of their field, the disciplines in which recent Ph.D. graduates found it most difficult to locate in-field employment in 1995 were
political science (11.2 percent); mathematics (9.3 percent); sociology/anthropology (9.1 percent); earth, atmospheric, and oceanographic sciences (6.8 percent); and physics (6.7 percent). The biological sciences fared better, with 2.8 percent
reporting involuntary outside-of-field employment; other measures, however, suggest a drop in the availability of tenure-track positions for recent biological sciences graduates.
Most holders of Ph.D.s in science and engineering do not work in academia. Only 28.4 percent are employed as postsecondary teachers, and another 15.5 percent have some other employment at a four-year educational
Only 12.1 percent of scientists and engineers in postdoctoral positions in 1993 were in tenure-track positions in 1995; 41.6 percent still held postdoctorate appointments. Nevertheless, the length of time spent in
postdoctoral positions appears to be only slightly greater than that reported retrospectively by those in mid-career.
While most individuals in postdoctorate positions in 1995 reported additional training and other customary reasons for accepting their appointments, 17.1 percent said that they had taken a postdoctorate because other
employment was not available. This proportion rises to 29.3 percent for the earth, atmospheric, and oceanographic sciences and to 26.8 percent for physics.
Characteristics of the S&E Workforce
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